Polar vortex recap; a timely warming trend!

The coldest air is moving away, and temperatures will rebound dramatically over the next few days.

This is good timing, with the weekend just ahead!

Polar vortex recap

The Minnesota State Climatology Office has compiled a recap of our latest polar vortex episode.

Some details of their summary:

  •  The -56 degrees F air temperature at Cotton 3S on January 28, 2019 was the coldest ambient air temperature in Minnesota since the -60 degrees F reading near Tower on February 2, 1996.
  • The -28 degrees F air temperature in the Twin Cities on January 30, 2019 was the coldest ambient air temperate in the Twin Cities since -32 degrees F on February 2, 1996.
    The -13 degrees F maximum temperature on January 30, 2019 was the coldest maximum temperate since -17 degrees F on February 2, 1996.
  • Neither the minimum or maximum temperature in the Twin Cities on January 30 set a record for the date. However, the -56 at Cotton on January 27 did set the daily statewide record minimum temperature for the date. The old record was -54 at Pokegama Dam in 1904. Cotton 3S also saw -56 degrees F on January 31, breaking the daily statewide record minimum temperature for the date as well. The old record was -55 degrees F at Embarrass in 1996.
  • Some record cold maximum temperature records were set across the state as the mercury stayed in the teens below zero on January 30. Some of these records include: -14 degrees F at Duluth, -19 degrees F at Rochester and International Falls and -17 degrees F at St. Cloud.

Their recap also has a detailed discussion about the wind chills over the past few days.

Scenes from Cotton

minus 56 degrees F at Cotton in St. Louis County Minnesota on Jan. 27, 2019
Courtesy: Duluth National Weather Service

They took another shot at the state record Thursday morning:

It’s time to talk about some warmth!

Temperature trends

Friday highs will be on the positive side of zero, with a lot of teens and 20s:

Parts of the southwest will see some 30s.

On Saturday, the southern half of Minnesota should reach the 30s, with mostly 20s in the north:

Sunday highs are expected to range from the 20s in northwestern Minnesota to lower 40s southeast:

Our average high this time of year is 25 degrees in the Twin Cities metro area.

Snow chances

On Friday, the best chance of snow showers will be in northern Minnesota.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s North American Mesoscale forecast model shows the potential snow pattern for Friday and Friday evening:

NOAA NAM simulated radar for Friday and Friday evening, via tropicaltidbits

The color chart to the right of the loop refers to the strength of the signal that returns to the radar, not to the amount of snow.

As always, updated weather information can be heard on the Minnesota Public Radio Network, and you’ll also see updated weather info on the MPR News live weather blog.

Wintry mix on Monday

A storm system is expected to spread a wintry mix into southern Minnesota Sunday night and Monday, with mainly snow to the north.

NOAA’s Global Forecast System model shows the potential precipitation pattern Sunday afternoon through Monday evening:

NOAA GFS precipitation rate (mm/hour) Sunday afternoon through Monday evening, via tropicaltidbits

The color chart to the right of the loop refers to the precipitation rate (mm per hour), not to the total amount of rain or snow.

It’d be good to check forecast updates if you have Monday travel plans.